Ten-2-Watch: Last Chance for Conference Shots
Each week, the Lacrosse Magazine staff picks and previews of the weekend's best, from all levels of the college landscape. Use #Ten2Watch to discuss the games to come, and tweet @LacrosseMag to make your own picks. Also make sure to vote in our LaxMagazine.com Fan Vote Game of the Week.
WD1: No. 4 Ohio State (12-4) at No. 7 Johns Hopkins (13-3)
|Sarah Taylor and the Blue Jays host Ohio State in a big ALC showdown on Saturday. (John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com)|
Saturday, 2 p.m.
Both No. 4 Ohio State and No. 7 Johns Hopkins are hoping to end their season on a positive note. Going into their conference tournament, the Blue Jays need to rebound from their 12-10 loss to Penn State so a win over ALC's No. 2 squad from Columbus is crucial. The Buckeyes only have one loss in conference play to No. 1 Florida, but the nation's second-best feeder with 42 assists, junior Jackie Cifarelli, has helped boost its team into the top 10 in total assists with 97. Tori DeScenza, who was named the ALC's defensive player of the week on April 22, has also been a solid asset to Ohio State, leading with 36 ground balls. But a confidant Blue Jays with senior Taylor D'Amore at its helm can tip the game in their favor. D'Amore is tied with Navy's Loren Generi for the No. 3 spot in total points with 78 from 43 goals and 35 assists. Her assist total ties for fourth in the nation with Longwood's Lauren Prasnicki. The attacking duo of Dene' DiMartino and Sammy Cermack trail D'Amore with 39 and 28 goals, respectively. On the defensive end, starting goalie Caroline Federico is the third-best in Division I with her 6.58 goals-against average.
MD1: Ohio St. (6-6) at No. 14 Fairfield (10-3)
Saturday, 1 p.m.
A conference regular season title and tournament top seed is on the line when the Buckeyes, winners of four straight, visit Fairfield. For all of its early-season non-conference losses, Ohio State remembered it was still the preseason ECAC favorite and can improve to 4-0 in league with a win here. The Bucks' Jesse King ranks eighth nationally with 4.27 points per game and can return to the national stage down the stretch if Ohio State heats up. Neither team has great faceoff play so this game will be won the old fashioned way, with ground balls, limiting turnovers and being efficient on offense.
WD1: No. 19 Princeton (10-4) at No. 13 Penn State (9-6)
Saturday, 3 p.m.
This week, lacrosse gurus need to keep an eye on the Princeton
Tigers and Penn State Nittany Lions, out-of-conference foes looking
to make a name for themselves with the NCAA Tournament looming
around the corner. Penn State has consistently been in LM's Top 20
this season, but with one week left in the regular season,
Princeton finally broke in to sit at No. 19, dropping Penn to No.
20 after a surprise upset. With the Tigers' subsequent victory
against Dartmouth, they clinched a share of the Ivy title, and for
the first time in the conference's young tournament history, they
earned hosting rights as well. Princeton began the season with a
1-3 record, but soon turned it around, only allowing one more loss
at the hands of top-ranked Maryland. Erin McMunn leads the Tigers
with 40 points, while Sarah Lloyd has been instrumental on the
draw, controlling possession 30 times this season. For the Nittany
Lions, Madison Cyr was just honored as the ALC Offensive Player of
the Week after sparking a come-from-behind victory against Johns
Hopkins, sinking three goals in a 23-second span in the second
half. She leads her squad with 43 points.
MD1: No. 16 Harvard (8-5) at No. 13 Yale (9-3)
Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
It's exciting times in the Ivy League ahead of this traditional rivalry. Harvard can clinch at least a share of the Ivy regular season championship, its first in 24 years, with a win, which would mean Harvard Stadium would host the Ivy League postseason tournament. Harvard owns the tiebreaker over Cornell, also 4-1 in the league, because of a head-to-head result, but should Yale beat Harvard, Cornell will host the Ivy tournament regardless of its result against Princeton given it would win a four-way tiebreaker of teams with 4-2 records in the league. In any event, get to know this talented Harvard group, from the back-line out with goalie Jack Gambitsky, who will face his high school teammate in Yale's second-leading scorer Brandon Mangan, and defenseman Stephen Jahelka, Joe Petrucci, Bobby Duvnjak and long-stick midfielder Brian Fischer. Watch the faceoff matchup in this game, too: Yale's Dylan Levings vs. Harvard's Gabe Mendola.
WD1: No. 14 UMass (14-1) at Duquesne (13-2)
Sunday, 1 p.m.
For both teams' final game of the regular season, the leading
Minutewomen will take on the Dukes, who trail at the No. 2 spot in
the Atlantic 10. Massachusetts is undefeated in conference play and
only have one loss on the season against a taxing Northwestern.
UMass boasts the No. 2 scoring defense, allowing 6.07 goals per
game, and is also No. 3 in total caused turnovers with 169. Junior
keeper Rachel Vallarelli is a large factor in the Minutewomen's
success holding the No. 2 spot with her 6.10 goals-against average.
However, unranked Duquesne is a team to be reckoned with. With
junior Amanda Kidder leading her Dukes squad on both ends of the
field with 66 points as the third-best in goals per game (3.67) and
caused turnovers per game (2.67), UMass will need to find a way to
shut her down, likely looking to seniors Tanner Guarino and Kelsey
Sheridan for support. Guarino has 19 caused turnovers and Sheridan
is scrappy on defense picking up 31 ground balls. Senior Katie
Ferris leads the Minutewomen on offense with 67 points while her
scoring partner Sam Rush who has netted 54 goals.
MD1: Binghamton (7-6) at No. 20 Albany (7-5)
Saturday, 7 p.m.
The winner takes the America East title and the top seed in the conference postseason tournament. Binghamton has won five of its last six with the lone loss coming April 2 in a hard-fought 10-8 decision against Syracuse in the Carrier Dome. The early half of the season was not kind on the Bearcats. Look at this: close wins over Sacred Heart and Hobart and losses to Siena, Cornell, Delaware, Colgate and Air Force, the last three by a combined four goals. Binghamton has lost six games overall, but hasn't been blown out in any. Junior attackman Tucker Nelson tied the program's all-time career assists record last Saturday. Albany and the Thompson Show beat UMBC 18-14 last Saturday. The Danes beat Binghamton 21-8 last year so the Bearcats will need to show marked improvement to take this game.
WD1: Southern Cal (8-7) at No. 8 Northwestern (9-5)
Saturday, 8 p.m. at Wrigley Field, Chicago, Ill.
Before this past weekend, many may have assumed that No. 8
Northwestern will defeat unranked USC by a landslide at Wrigley
Field. But with the Wildcats' end-of-season slump with consecutive
losses to Johns Hopkins and Florida, plus the Trojans' upset win
against Stanford, this game could be a toss up. USC has rested in
the middle of the MSPF standings all season long, but with the help
of sophomore goalie Liz Shaeffer who was named the conference's
defender of the week, the women of Troy snapped a three-game skid
and were put back on the map. USC also has its top two offensive
players at its disposal – point-leader Carolina de Lyra (39)
and Alex Moore (37 points). For Northwestern, the first squad to
shut down North Carolina, senior Alyssa Leonard dominates on draw
controls averaging 7.86 per game, the third-best in the nation.
Kaleigh Craig and Kat DeRonda both have 27 goals on the season,
while DeRonda and Kelly Rich docked the most assists with eight
each. On defense, Kate Ivory has caused the highest number of
turnovers with 13. The Wildcats will surely be looking to end the
regular season with a win.
MD1: No. 4 Syracuse (9-3) vs. No. 2 Duke (12-2)
Friday, 5 p.m. PPL Park, Chester, Pa. (ACC Semifinal)
The Orange and Blue Devils will be very familiar with each other by the time this game is all wrapped up. They played in last year's national title game and again this regular season — a 21-7 thumping by Duke — and now its time for Round Three. Could there be a fourth in the NCAA tournament? Hate to harp on it, but faceoffs will be key. Syracuse's Chris Daddio has improved since the last time these two teams met, but nemesis Brendan Fowler awaits once again. This is one of the first games of conference tournament season, but it has the potential of being one of the best. There's stacked talent on the attack, midfield and defensive units of both sides.
WD3: No. 11 Geneseo (13-1) at No. 20 Brockport (10-4)
Friday, 4 p.m.
It's been a banner year for lacrosse across the SUNY system, with the Albany and Binghamton men's teams set for an undefeated showdown this weekend and the Stony Brook and Albany women battling all season long at the top of the America East. But the stiffest SUNY competition has come at the Division III women's level, where five teams with legitimate NCAA tournament aspirations are chasing No. 1 Cortland.
Geneseo has not lost to anyone but Cortland and is a good bet to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament anyway, so this game could hold more meaning for Brockport, which has won five of six after a two-game losing streak in March. The Golden Eagles likely need one more signature win over a team like Geneseo, either now or in the SUNYAC tournament, to be reach the NCAAs. Geneseo, which went on to reach the NCAA tournament, defeated Brockport, 17-8, last season.
MD3: No. 13 Mary Washington (14-2) at No. 17 York (14-3)
Saturday, 3 p.m. CAC Semifinals
Can the CAC send three teams to the NCAA tournament for the first time in the league's history? That might be a stretch at this point, but conference is almost certainly sending two, and the winner of this contest will be in the driver's seat for at least an at-large berth.
The first meeting back on March 15 resulted in a double-overtime victory for York, 11-10, but the Spartans needed a 27-save effort out of Caleb Abney after being out-shot, 55-35, by the Eagles. Can York realistically expect their goalie to reprise that role? Will Mary Washington be able to win more than six of the 26 faceoffs they won in the first contest? They are big questions to answer in what amounts to an NCAA tournament play-in game.
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